Saturday, July 31, 2010
Of course as females, we simply sit there and try to humor him, because although telling him to simply STFU! would be so very satisfying, it wouldn't be very ladylike! When it comes to dealing with the consummate male boor, being female, means being long-suffering!
Men! Is it any wonder that we have such a hard time relating to those, whom we share a commonality of chromosomes with? At some time in the womb, we had to have been touched by a divine hand, saving us from a life of cluelesness! So sad that it takes so many of us so long to embrace that blessing, and come to terms with it.
I went to the grocery store today. The temperature was down into the 80's after many days of upper 90's, and quite a few days of over 100 this month. In fact we have set a new record so far this summer, with 10 days so far over 100°F/37.77°C. I was feeling very lazy today, so I got a way too late start, and didn't get showered and off to the store, until the after work crowd got there, so I spent my time in the store dodging errant shopper's and their meandering carts.
With all of my groceries packed into 59 tiny little white plastic bags, I made my way out into the paring lot. Of course I'm being facetious when I say 59 bags, but twenty nine was not far off the mark! And of course I had to completely repack them.......as always! Five very beautiful vine-ripe tomatoes, buried under a bag full of heavier items, and a bag with two loaves of fresh bread, half buried as well! Where do they get these grocery clerks from? Is common sense no longer an innate human quality?
Back at home, with all groceries put away, a lovely supper was made, of fresh mixed greens, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, and tomatoes (luckily salvage before they were crushed), with Italian dressing, lasagna, and some Burgundy!
All is good, here in the Virginia Piedmont!
And now, picture yourself in a cozy little Italian restaurant in New Jersey. Tony Soprano, Silvio Dante and Paulie Walnuts walk in, and sit down at the table next to you. Suddenly, Jerry Vale comes on the juke box. You take it all in, and simply wish that at least for that brief moment, you too were Italian!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Self confidence! Why is it so hard to cling to at times. Our own lovely Chrissie blogged yesterday of her bout with this insidious demon, as what should have been a wonderful time with her daughter, turned out to be an exercise in fear and loathing. Bless you sweetie! I hope you never have to suffer through anxiety like that ever again.
And now, on to innocence:
It must have been 1953. We had just moved to Germany, and I was no more than four or five years old. It was nap time, and I was in my bedroom on the second floor of a German house that had been confiscated by the allies from a Nazi official. Our family had been assigned this house to live in, until a US military housing unit became available to us.
Lying there in that hazy state of being half asleep and half awake, my mind began to drift off to pleasant thoughts. This time my thoughts centered around a particularly pretty woman I remembered from Sunday school at the US Army Chapel in Bremerhaven. I began to fantasize that I was her little girl, and she had just dressed me in a very pretty little girl's dress, and black patent Mary Janes, with little white ankle socks. Hand in hand we cheerfully walked up to the chapel for Sunday services. These pleasant thoughts also had another effect. My little member began to stiffen and feel uncomfortable. I had no idea what this was all about, but since I was lying on my stomach, my natural inclination was to place my hands beneath me and gently rock back and forth. It felt good.
For some reason, my mother who was always an overly suspicious woman, decided to sneak up the stairs and spy on me. As she got to my room, she poked her head through the doorway, and saw me gently rocking to and fro on my hands. In her usual neurotic fashion, she completely misread the situation and thought I had to pee, but was just too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom. Instantly she became furious with me, and started screaming! She ordered me to get up and go to the bathroom, where she stood over me and demanded that I pee. Of course I didn't have to pee, and therefore I couldn't. I kept telling her that I didn't have to pee, but she refused to believe me, and kept ordering me to pee, until she realized her commands were futile. Of course I was traumatized by all of this. One minute I was in in a state of bliss, and the next I was being brow beaten, and made to feel ashamed of my self. That incident scarred me for life. To this day I am what is known as pee shy. I cannot pee, if anyone is within earshot of me, let alone in my immediate presence, and I am convinced that incident is what caused it.
How can a mother be so insensitive to the emotions of her children, you might ask. Well, if she has a narcissistic personality, as my mother did, and still does to this day by the way, its quite easy, because all she ever thinks about is herself. Even when she is ostensibly thinking about you, she is in reality thinking about how wonderful she is to be thinking about you.
I used to fear her, but now I just pity her. I still love her after a fashion. She is my mother after all, but the respect that I once had for her, born out my fear of her, has completely vanished. Today, in my mind she is the the little girl, and I am the adult, and I am far kinder to her, than she ever was to me.
How about a little Blue Eyes, for your listening pleasure:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Recently, while visiting a message board, that I have frequented outside of the T-world for several years, I came across a post, discussing the subject of men carrying bags, or as some preferred to call them........purses. Of course many of the posts ridiculed males who carried bags, while some even made references to the hideous "f" word. "F" of course, meaning fag. Shame on them! Maybe I am not one to defend the carrying of purses, shoulder bags, handbags, or whatever you like to call them, but the entire debate is so ridiculous to me. There is nothing inherently female, or effeminate, about having a bag to carry once's essentials around in. And even if it is a stylish leather bag, instead of some sports inspired canvas or nylon bag, Who the hell cares?
When working, I carried both woven canvas and nylon bags, and more stylish leather bags, that contained, my lunch, my snacks, my newspaper, my cell phone, any medications I was taking, and any other miscellaneous items I thought I might need during the day. Why should anyone be condemned to carrying all of their necessities around in their pockets, simply because they are male? Can we all agree, based upon simple logic, that shoulder bags, hand bags, purses, etc., are simply unisex conveniences? I am happy to report, that Allah the merciful, or God Almighty, or Yahweh, or Jehovah, or whatever you like to call your deity, has no opinion on whether or not you should carry a bag to keep your things in!
Today was an absolutely wonderful day! I awoke to temperatures in the low to mid seventies, and throughout the day, they never rose above 80° F! For the first time in several weeks, I was able to cut my A/C units back from full blast, and shut off most of the fans in my house! I can't believe how quiet the house is now! Will I be able to sleep tonight without all of the white noise? I certainly hope this cooling trend lasts! When we have had horribly hot summers before, it seems that the onset of August often marked the turn around to more reasonable temperatures. If I was still a vestal virgin, I would offer up a special prayer to ensure cooler weather from now on for everyone. But of course I'm not a vestal virgin (sigh). I'm simply Melissa, living in the Virginia Piedmont, and hoping that the rest of you are all enjoying the remainder of your summer!
Please enjoy a sweet number by Billie Holiday...............
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Please pray for us!
Great news! I can now communicate with two very lovely ladies. Laura Bennett's The World According to Laura, a Transgender Girl... and LeAnne's The lighter side of being transgender. Both are wonderful blogs by two perfectly lovely women! It would be well worth your while to give their blogs a visit!
And while we are on the subject of gaining access to each other's blogs, did you know that some people are unable to leave comments on your blog, if you use the embedded post comment box at the bottom of your post? It's true! And I'm not the only one who has problems with that format, so if you are wondering why some people never seem to respond to your blog, that could be why. For some reason or other, that format seems to be incompatible with some ISPs. Switching to either the pop up, or full page comment options in your blog setting, will insure that everyone will be able to communicate with you.
Now, a question about CD's. I've been trying to listen to my CD of Dvořák's 9th tonight and it keeps skipping! I have pulled it out of the CD player several times to wipe it off, but to no avail! It still skips. I hate this, because it's one of my favorites! I cannot see any scratches on the CD. Does anyone have a clue as to what might be wrong? Do I need to clean the CD with say......an eyeglass cleaner? Apparently the laser is not picking up the tract in places.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
If anyone who regularly corresponds with these two lovely ladies, would kindly pass this message on to them, I will just love you for it! We need to do all that we can to expand our network of support for one another!
Friday, July 23, 2010
I was out on the deck at about 8:00PM. It was still 94°F/34.4°C , but because the weekend is at hand, the constant noise of traffic on I-64 a quarter of a mile away was dying down, and I was serenaded by the strains of cicadas, playing their soothing summer symphony. It doesn't get anymore peaceful than that! Of course when one lands on your screen window, and decides to jam, it's another story!
A day without wig and makeup yesterday, was just too depressing, so despite the high temperature this evening, I opted for a lighter foundation than the full coverage foundation that I normally wear. I used a mineral foundation that I got from Sephora. It doesn't provide anywhere near the coverage I need, but since I wasn't going out anywhere, it was good enough, along with eye liner, mascara, a touch of blush, and a natural colored lip pencil, to soften the look of my hideous male visage. My wig has not been too hot this evening, either. The open weft wigs that I wear, let a lot of the heat escape.
Big bonus! The public radio station that I am listening to at the moment, just started playing Dvořák's 7th! Absolutely one of my favorites!
Now then........what were we discussing? Oh yes! My wig and how comfortable it is, in spite of this infernal heat! It's a Jaclyn Smith wig from Paula Young. The style is called Kris. I wear a large cap size wig, and this wig is listed only as an average, yet it still works for me. It is very stretchy, and doesn't give me a headache to wear it, like most average size wigs do. I can't get it down low enough on my head for the ear tabs to fit in their proper place, but because the hair on the sides is so long, it will still cover the hair on my temples. The look is very natural, and I guess that's why I like it so much!
On a more somber note, I would like to mention that Daniel Schorr died today. He was one of the last of Edward R. Murrow's great proteges, and you could tell it, by the honest straight forward way that he always reported the news. He never kowtowed to anyone, and that earned him a #17 on Richard Nixon's infamous enemies' list, and being fired by CNN 24 years ago, for not revealing the identity of a source, in one of his reports. Daniel Schorr was a mensch! That's a rare commodity in today's world of journalism. He was 93 years old! Rest in peace Dan. The world is a lesser place without you!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Today was grocery shopping day. I had intended to go to the dump too, but as hot as it was, grocery shopping was all that I could handle, especially considering that I had to spend 10-15 minutes in the blazing hot grocery store parking lot, repacking and consolidating all of my groceries in a manner that actually made sense. You know........more than two items per shitty little plastic bag, frozen and cold stuff in with other frozen and cold stuff, soft stuff carefully segregated from hard stuff, etc., just a common ordinary sense way of packing groceries, that seems to have escaped so many grocery store clerks today.
Why is it so god damned hot?
Blame it on the Bermuda High, also known as the Azores High. It's a common Atlantic phenomenon. All I know, is that I wish it would go the hell away!
Now my dears, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with the title of this post. Well, not much.......directly. I didn't sleep last night. Yes, another night of insomnia. Not unusual when you get older. It happens about once or twice a week if no sleeping aids are used. I had been using one or two Benadryl; what I thought was a harmless antihistamine, but after reading the label a little closer, I found that it was not recommended, if you have glaucoma. Now before you go weeping, and gnashing your teeth, I have not been found to have glaucoma, but my father did have it, so there is a good possibility that I could develop it myself. So I said why take the chance? Especially since I felt a somewhat strange pressure in my left eye over the last few days. Once again, not to alarm anyone. I have chronic sinusitis, and sometimes that translates into a temporary pain in the eye above the associated sinus.
Last night, as I waited until 3:00 AM to go to sleep, once again I found my mind running, even as my body was trying to relax and fall asleep. Just as I would begin to drift off into a dream, my mind would jolt me awake, and play the sleep Nazi; "No sleep for you!"
So, after over two hours of lying there awake, I just said, "eff it", and got up, and just went about my day.
And now the self image part.
When I got back from the grocery store, and unloaded and put away all of my purchases, I felt exhausted. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the effort of repackaging all of those bags and hauling them inside, but more than likely, it was simply the lack of sleep the night before. Whatever it was, I had a emotional breakdown.
First, I looked at The Donna Blog, where Donna Rose linked pictures of her progression through female facial surgery. I was so impressed by the way that this beautiful woman totally reconstructed her face in a very complementary way. Many times we think if facial plastic surgery in terms of people going too far, like Michael Jackson, or Cher, but Donna took a manly face, and turned it into something truly feminine and beautiful. It just goes to show what the right doctor, can do with the right face.
Anyway.....shortly thereafter, I found myself in the bathroom after a pee, and I looked at my face; unshaven, and sans wig and makeup. My heart sank! Unlike the lovely, and naturally feminine looking face of Donna Rose, I looked like a man, and not just any man. I looked like my father! Now don't get me wrong. I loved my father dearly, and I cried for six months after he died. Hardly a day would go by that I wouldn't think of Dad, and his military officer's funeral in Arlington National Cemetery, with his horse drawn caisson, pulling his flag draped casket to his burial site, accompanied by muffled drums and a rifle squad of honor guard in their dress blues. The lone bugler blowing 'Taps" over his casket, the 21 gun salute, and his flag being taken up, and reverently folded into the traditional tri-corner configuration, before the officer in charge presented it to my mother. I have that flag today, preserved in a glass fronted oak framed case.......No Dad, I will never disrespect you, but I never wanted to be you.....I just wanted to be myself!
That was ten years ago, and as much as I love my dad, I never wanted to be him. Yet there I was, standing before the mirror, with my 61 year old hairless pate, five o:clock shadow, and facial features, that seem to strongly resemble my father, and I burst into tears! Maybe I was just in a weakened state, from the heat and exhaustion of staying up the night before, but there was a very significant emotional component to that reaction too. As Melissa, with my hair and make up done, I look so much more like my mother, and especially my older sister, but upon closer examination, I look even more like me, and that's what I really want!
To the very sweet Caroline, and the absolutely adorable Veronica, thank you so much dear ones! I have taken your summer advice, have switched from Cabernet to a chilled Chardonnay! Yes! Much more summery!
When I bought the 8,000 BTU Samsung that I have in my bedroom three or four years ago (to replace another piece junk made by Whirlpool), I also bought another 6,000 BTU Samsung, that I had intended on putting in the computer room, but I never did, because the 12,000 and the 8,000 did an excellent job of cooling the whole house down, so it's been sitting around in its original box unopened ever since. Today I decided that rather than buy another 12,000 BTU, I should just go ahead and install the 6,000 BTU Samsung, and see how it does. I put it in just before lunch today, and have been running it ever since, along with the one in my bedroom. The outside temperature made it up to 99°F today, and the two units have been doing a very good job of keeping the house comfortable. I've been sitting here in the computer room for the better part of the evening, and I've had a couple of root beers over ice, and the glass didn't even sweat enough to to leave a ring on my desk. Not bad, when the outside humidity is 83%!
I was out on the deck yesterday evening, feeding some old stale bread to the squirrels. I give them all of my apple cores too, which they love, and even an occasional whole apple. They don't seem to like sweet potatoes though. They eat well. There are plenty of acorns and hickory nuts on the property, and when it's been raining a lot, there are plenty of mushrooms too. I once watched a squirrel outside my kitchen window, pluck a mushroom nearly as tall as he was, and over the next five minutes eat the entire thing. I wonder how he knew it wasn't poisonous?
When I was feeding them the bread, I heard a noise in the woods behind me. I turned around and walked to the other end of the deck to investigate, and heard what sounded like a deer walking around in the woods, so I walked down the steps to ground level, and as I got closer, I heard it move some more. I walked out in my driveway to get a better look, and suddenly a deer came bounding out of the woods towards the road out front. It quickly crossed the road and disappeared into the woods on the other side! That made my day! I used to see deer, fox and wild turkeys on my property all of the time, when I first moved out here, but I was the only one on this road then, and I was completely surrounded by woods. Then other people began to clear lots and build houses, and bring dogs, and the wildlife all but disappeared. I'm lucky to see a deer on the property once or twice a year now.
My sister is back from her choir's trip to France, where she said they received standing ovations, everywhere they sang! She said it was beautiful, but very hot, and few places had air conditioning. She said her hotel room had air conditioning, but it was still 80° F, and no amount of fiddling with the thermostat would lower it. She said it was very expensive, and a Coca Cola cost 3 Euros! Yikes! That's $4. 70 US! She took a lot of nice pictures, and brought me back a refrigerator magnet, with a picture of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. She said it was all she could afford! I have it on my refrigerator now, next to my Marilyn Monroe magnet.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Of course it had to happen today! On a day when the temperature soared to within tenths of a degree of 100° F, and with the heat index exceeding 104° F, my largest window A/C unit decided like Old Lodge Skins in the movie, Little Big Man, that today is a good day to die. I have two window A/C units. Well, three actually, but the 8,000 BTU unit in my computer room hasn't worked for years. I never bothered to replace it, because it really wasn't needed. The room is very small, and there was nowhere I could sit, without it blowing freezing cold air directly on me. Besides, the 12,000 BTU unit in the great room, and the other 8,000 BTU unit in my bedroom did a proper job of keeping the entire house cool and dehumidified. A simple oscillating fan for ventilation, was all the computer room needed.
As I've been saying for some time now, and I don't blame you if you're getting tired of hearing it, this has been a very hot summer, with temperatures in the 90's most days since the beginning of June, so I've had the window units running wide open. When I got up this morning the house was a little too cool, so I turned the thermostat back on the 12,000 BTU unit. Big mistake!
Since I have it set on the energy saving mode, than meant that the fan shut off along with the compressor. An hour or two later as the sun rose higher in the sky, and the temperature began to rise, I turned the thermostat back up, and the fan and compressor cut on, but the unit began to emit strange intermittent noises.
Industrial electrical work was what I made my living at before I retired, so I knew instantly that the noises I was hearing meant that either the fan motor, or the compressor bearings were failing. Sure enough, about an hour later the fan motor locked up, and even though the compressor was still running, there was no air being drawn through the cooling coils, and blown back out into the room. It saddens me that this unit went bad. It was a Gibson, and one of the very last really good ones made. I was lucky to get it when I did, because it was the last one in the only appliance store in Richmond that sold them. Gibson window air conditioners used to have a great reputation. They were possibly the best window A/C units ever made in America. They were heavy duty, and dependably reliable. Dependably reliable.............that sounds a bit redundant, doesn't it? Oh well, suffice to say that Gibsons used to be excellent air conditioners. This one ran faithfully for more than ten years, and I had another that ran trouble free for over ten years as well. I gave that one away to a young couple that lived in the apartment below me, when I moved to my house out in the country. Compare that to some Whirlpool and Frigidaire units I've had since, that lasted no more than two or three years, and soon found a final resting place in the county dump.
When I realized that the big unit bit the dust, I began to panic. How was I ever going to survive, with just one 8,000 BTU unit in this horrid desert heat?.........Picture Melissa barefoot, dressed in the shortest of shorts, the skimpiest tank top, with hair pulled back, and sitting directly in front of a block of ice, with an oscillating fan blowing over it, while sipping on iced drinks, and wiping away the rivers of sweat dripping from her brow! How did Scarlett O'Hara ever stand those stifling Atlanta summers in her corset, bloomers, and long antebellum dresses?
I prepared for the worst. Although not totally necessary, because of the shade provided by my trees, the blinds were closed, and the few fans I have, were strategically placed to move cool air from the bedroom at the opposite end of the house, to the computer room where I like to hang out.
It actually hasn't been that bad. The high temperature in the house got up to 82° F late this afternoon, and currently it's 78° F, but with all the windows shut, the lone 8,000 BTU window unit in my bedroom, is keeping that room and my master bath nice and cool, and dehumidifying the entire house, so as long as I stay half naked, I'm pretty comfortable.
I went on line today looking for a replacement for the Gibson. So far all I have been able to find locally in an equivalent BTU rating, is another Frigidaire, but in spite of the glorious reviews I saw, I'm reluctant to try a Frigidaire ever again, because the last one I had lasted only two or three years. I have a Samsung unit still in the box, that I bought several years ago. It's very similar to the excellent Samsung model in my bedroom, except it's only 5,000 BTUs, and it doesn't have a remote control. I originally bought it for the computer room when the Whirlpool went for a shit, but when the other two units kept the house fairly cool, I decided to leave it in the box, thinking that I would either use it in an emergency like now, or just donate it to charity. So right now I am torn. Do I drive into town, and spend several hundred dollars on a new 12,000BTU unit for the great room, or do I say screw it, and just install the 5,000 BTU Samsung in the computer room, even though I know it will blow cold air on me, and I might end up having to wear a shrug, while posting my boring drivel to all of my sweet readers?
I've been listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live in New York City tonight, and it's really a great CD. I have the DVD too, and both were recorded for HBO, back in 2001. Bruce is great to listen to, when your spirits need lifting. Check out this wonderful rendition of Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, followed by this moving version of Youngstown (No secret where my political feelings lie!).
Melissa XX (Hoping you are having an enjoyable warm, albeit comfortable summer!)
Today while listening to the news on NPR, I heard about a website called I Write Like, where you can submit a block of text you have written, and using algorithms based on the writings of many famous writers, it will analyze your text, and tell you who you write like. I submitted the first paragraph from my last bog entry, and it immediately told me that I wrote like Bram Stoker! No wonder Caroline thought I was practicing to to write a thriller. I was intrigued, so I also submitted the first paragraph of the blog that Caroline commented on, but instead of Bram Stoker, this time it said James Joyce! So I guess I'm destined to be either a writer of dark thrillers, or the writer of epic novels. Actually, I suspect I will get a different writer, every time I submit a different block of text.
If you would like to try it just for fun, just go to I Write Like, and submit a block of any text you have written. The site will not store, or use any text you submit for any other purpose. I'm curious to see which famous author each of you writes like.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
It was nearly 4:30 AM when I glanced over at my alarm clock Thursday morning. I had been in bed since 2:30 AM, but I was still wide awake. The sun would be coming up in an hour, and I just didn't want to see that happen while still in bed, so I decided to get up. I've gone without sleep plenty of times before. I could do it again. One of the great things about being retired, is that when I have a sleepless night, I don't have to immediately jump into the rat race. I can just get up and take it easy. If necessary I can always take a nap later on.
Leaving my pajama top on, I threw on a pair of shorts, slipped into a pair of thong sandals, and sauntered out to the kitchen. I poured the remainder of yesterday's carafe of coffee into a mug, and put it in the microwave. Oh!......like you've never done that? A couple of minutes later I was sitting at my computer, sipping delicious stale, day old coffee, and reading the first blogs of the day, from all of you early birds on the eastern side of the pond. Unlike me, many of you are apparently early morning bloggers. At about 5:30 AM, I made a fresh pot of coffee, and a breakfast of two microwave fried eggs, toast with PB&J, and some yogurt with blackberry jam mixed in. While eating my breakfast, I realized why I couldn't get to sleep the night before. I normally take a baby aspirin and a Benadryl just before bedtime. The Benadryl helps to zone me out, so I can fall asleep easier, but I forgot to take it last night. No wonder I was contemplating infinity at 4:30 AM, instead lying in a coma.
Going without a night's sleep could have been a bitch, but it turned out to be a stroke of luck after all. The grass in the back yard, was in dire need of mowing, and I had been wanting to cut it for the last two weeks, but it's just been too hot. Thursday was no different. It was forecast to be hot and humid, with temperatures in the mid 90's. That's far too hot to be pushing a lawnmower around in the sun, but since I was up much earlier than normal, I thought I take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures, and at about 9:30 AM (my normal wake up time), I pulled the mower out of the shed and ran it around the yard. At that time of day, the yard was still mostly in shade, and although it was extremely humid, the temperature was only in the low 80's, so it wasn't bad at all. And hour later I was done, and it was only 10:30. I was still soaking wet with sweat because of the humidity, but I wasn't exhausted like I would normally have been, had I mowed in the noonday, or afternoon sun.
Great News From The Gulf of Mexico!
After three months of copious amounts of sweet light crude leaking into North America's most productive estuary, BP announced today that they have finally capped the gusher, and oil is no longer pouring from the well! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the new well cap holds, and that the well casing hasn't been fractured, so oil can't leak out through the sub strata. BP is wholly responsible for this horrible environmental catastrophe. There is no doubt that it has cost them dearly in profits and reputation, but today those working to put an end to this disaster, deserve a big pat on the back, and our sincere thanks for a job well done! There will never be any excuse for this happening ever again, anywhere in the world.
On The Epicurean Front
I've always loved Nabisco's Triscuits, but today I discovered Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits! I can't begin to describe how wonderful they are! I don't think I'll ever buy ordinary Triscuits again.
The Dominoes Are Falling
Today, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, to afford full legal and marital rights to lesbian and gay citizens, including the right to adopt children! Way to go Argentina! ¡Vive, separación de iglesia y estado!
Monday, July 12, 2010
I have about 400' of pond frontage, but the grassy strip on the bank is only about 60' at its widest point. There is a pretty good slope there, so there is a lot of pushing uphill. It takes about an hour for me to cut it all with a push mower, and it's an excellent work out, both aerobically and anaerobically. Thanks to the cloud cover today, the temperature was only 82°, but the humidity was a steamy 76%, giving us a heat index of 87°. So despite the lower temperatures, within 15 minutes I was still dripping with sweat. By the time I had finished mowing the bank, I was fairly knackered, but I still had the long push back up the hill through the woods. These two pictures were taken last fall, and don't really give a good indication of the grade, but I would estimate that my house up on the other side of the woods, sits between 35-40' higher than the water level in the pond. To push the mower back up the hill through the woods, you have to lower your center of gravity, and really dig in with each step. If any of you have ever played American Football, then you know what it's like to push a blocking sled in practice. That's about what it feels like pushing my Honda mower back up the hill. Going down is a breeze, but going back up, once you've spent an hour pushing it around, is a bear!
About halfway up, I had to stop and get my breath. I wear a dust mask while mowing, and in the thick humid air, that wasn't helping my breathing at all. It was like trying to work out with a paper bag over my head! So I pulled off the mask, took a moment or two to catch my breath, and then forged onward. Emerging from the woods into the back yard at the top of that hill, is always a relief, and panting like a pooch on a dog day afternoon, I put the mower back into the shed, thankful that that chore was over. I was still red as a beet and soaking with sweat, when I got back into the air conditioned comfort of my house and looked at myself in the mirror, but I felt nothing like I did a few weeks earlier, after cutting the back yard in full afternoon sun, with temperatures in the mid 90's.
Last winter sucked, because it was so extreme, and I wished for warm weather. When it was over, I was so glad. Now I know to be careful what I wish for.
No supper at my mother's tonight. She is in Pennsylvania, staying with my aunt, her late brother's wife. S is a very sweet aunt. I have always adored her. When I was a child, and my mother and her sisters were much younger, they use to make disparaging comments about their brother's wife. They were Polish/Welsh in origin, and she was from German ancestry. It used to embarrass and hurt me to hear those jealous remarks, because I knew from the moment I first met her, what a sweet loving woman she was. They did the same things about my late uncle Billy's wife Thelma. I stayed with them for a few days before we moved to Germany in 1964, and she treated me so kindly. She was a genuine sweetheart too! I never knew why my mother and her sisters felt that way, but now that several of my mother's brothers, and two of her sisters are gone, she and Aunt S are the best of friends. I guess it just takes a long time for some people to put their petty jealousies aside, and realize how much they have in common. Fortunately Mom and Aunt S became friends long before my uncle C, S's husband died. In fact my mom and dad went on trips with them to both Russia, and South America, before my father and uncle died.
My sister should be getting back to her home in Richmond sometime late tonight, from her trip to France, where she sang in Notre Dame. I probably won't see her until next Monday evening, when we all gather at our mother's apartment again for supper. With two people returning from trips, the conversation should be lively. I will be so happy to see my sister again. If it weren't for her and my niece, I wouldn't want to drive into town each week. Caroline, if you are reading this, please send me an email Sunday night, or early Monday morning if you can remember, to remind me to take my camera, so I can show you the view from ten stories up!
My sincerest condolences to our dear sweet Stace, in Holland. I watched along with you sweetie, and rooted for Orange til the bitter end, but it was not to be. Spain and The Netherlands both played an inspired defensive game. It could have gone either way, but Spain got the lucky break in the second extra time period. I know how painful this third attempt at a the Cup must feel to some, but The Netherlands has nothing to be ashamed of! It really could have gone either way. Time to shift focus to the future.
Now.........can we put those infernal vuvuzelas to rest?
To all of you girls in the UK who attended Sparkle this past weekend, I hope you all had a great time supporting and socializing with each other, and that your solidarity had a positive effect on your confidence as women. I'm looking forward to some of your accounts. You are to be envied! We have nothing like that here in central Virginia. I guess the closest thing we have is the Richmond Pride Festival in September. I dearly love my lesbian sisters and gay brothers, but I would love to see an exclusive transgender festival here. I fear there are so many more of us hiding away, because they think they are all alone.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I'm not quite sure where this pic was taken from; either the International Space Station, or the Space Shuttle, but I think it is one of the loveliest images I have ever seen! It's also a magnificent image, because it gives us a perspective of scale, that is truly humbling. Note the thunderstorm in the center left of the picture. See the anvil extending high into the troposphere? That is a massive thunderstorm, yet it looks so small in comparison to its surroundings, in just this one little section of our planet.
We are even smaller, far smaller in fact, in comparison to that thunderstorm. We might as well be ants...............such is our significance in the overall scheme of things........or is it? Actually, I think we have an individual significance, far greater than our relatively microscopic stature would indicate, and a collective significance even greater than that huge thunderstorm!
At least I know that's true of all of you!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I took a walk down through the woods yesterday, and I'm truly embarrassed about how high the grass has gotten down by the pond, but it's just been so hot for so long, that I didn't want to risk heat stoke, pushing the lawn mower around for an hour in the sun. I did get the grass cut on the road out front, when the temperature dipped down into the 80's for a couple of days last week, but then it soared back into the mid to upper 90's again. Incidentally, the temperatures I have mentioned aren't the whole story. When combined with the relative humidity, they create a heat index, or as one of our local weather forecasters calls it, a "humiture" that is even higher than the ambient temperature. So far, we have had heat indexes up to 107-108° F. With the weather pattern we've been having, I wouldn't be surprised if it was sometime in August, before we get a break in the heat.
Not much happening right now. My toe continues to improve. I've been keeping it taped to the one next to it. The bruising is almost entirely gone, and the swelling appears to be getting better. It is still a bit tender to the touch, and I can't wear my flats yet, but I have no problem walking around on flat surfaces in a pair of New Balance trainers.
I was reading Veronica's wonderful blog, Life Right Side Up , and saw this:
Years ago, I learned something from psychologist Martin Seligman. He says that the optimal psychological state is optimism tempered by realism. People who are depressed aren't unduly pessimistic. They're simply too realistic. We need to see things in a better light than is actually there. We need to overestimate our own strength and abilities and attractiveness. That's how we move forward. That's how we thrive.
I have had a difficult time embracing what Martin Seligman says here. In a way, I think he is right, because almost everyone I know who seems to be perpetually happy, has that attitude. Yet for me, that attitude has always seemed a bit Pollyannaish. Kind of like burying one's head in the sand.
As I told Halle today on her blog, Maintaining The Facade, I've always had a hard time finding the right balance between unbridled optimism and persistent cynicism. Although I adored Hayley Mills in the 1960 Disney Movie, Pollyanna, I was only 11 years old at the time. Her attitude seemed perfectly rational to me way back then. But since then, I have seen and been through so much negative stuff, that it just seems irresponsible to walk through life without keeping my eyes wide open. The trouble with keeping one's eyes wide open, is that you do see all the bad stuff, and it affects your thinking, so you go from being dismissed as a Pollyanna, to being dismissed as a Casandra. How do we find the middle ground, or as Martin Seligman says, the "state of optimism tempered by realism"?
I met a friendly little penguin today. He comes from down under, and he's quite delightful! Actually what I am talking about is a lovely Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, I discovered in the wine section of the grocery store today called, The Little Penguin. It was on sale. $10. 49 for a 1.5 liter bottle. If you can find it, it's well worth the try.
For all of you World Cup fans, it looks like it's finally down to Spain and the Netherlands this weekend. I know at least one of our favorite bloggers who will be rooting for the the Netherlands; a lovely girl named Stace, who just got back to her current home in Holland, after a vacation back to her original home in Scotland. I will be rooting for The Netherlands too, but unfortunately I won't be able to see it, unless ABC decides to show it.
My sister has been in France for a week now, singing in various Cathedrals, including Notre Dame. Barring Quasimodo hauling her up to the bell tower, she should be coming back home on Monday. I won't see her until the following Monday though, because she will be flying into Dulles outside of Washington DC, and she won't get back down to Richmond until late that evening. Besides, my mother has taken the train up to Pennsylvania to stay with her sister-in-law for a week, so there will be no family supper this coming Monday. I can't wait until the following Monday, to hear all the tales of her journey!
Well.......the Beast has just informed me that my coffee break is over, and he wants me to get back to my job of stoking the fires of hell. He said that he too would be rooting for The Netherworld against Spain. When I politely informed him that it wasn't the Netherworld, it was The Netherlands, he wasn't pleased at all, and he gave me double duty on the furnace...............so, until next time, take care.
Melissa XX (Any and all petitions to the Beast for mercy, will be greatly appreciated. It's HOT AS HELL down here!)
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Now calm down, dear ones. I'm not losing it, nor am I grasping for straws of sympathy, so please don't fret over this post. I'm just trying to be open and honest about my innermost feelings. We all have them, don't we? Here are two different musical views on the subject. Which is your favorite?
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death
Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Now........ to all of my British friends, no hard feelings. Thankfully the hatchet was buried a long time ago, and we are now the best of friends once more! Here's wishing all of the Queen's willing and begrudging subjects, the very best on our nation's birthday! We here in the former colonies, send you our love!
Friday, July 2, 2010
There were no more than 8 or 10 people in the room when I entered. I said hello and proceeded to put my tossed salad, and container of Gorgonzola, and dressing on the kitchenette counter, along with the other offerings. The pickings were rather slim at this point, with some fried chicken fillets, a couple of small lasagnas, one of which was all but eaten, and a large white sheet cake, with red and blue dots interspersed, to mark our nation's independence from all of you horrible Brits!(Please note that my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek!) At this point, I regretted not also bringing a chicken Alfredo casserole I had in the freezer, but I thought there would probably be at least a couple of casseroles brought by others, since their usually was.
Mulling over the available fair, I selected a chicken fillet, and small portion of one of the lasagnas, and some of the tossed salad, and joined a wonderful girl, who's name starts with a C, and ends with an E at one of the tables. I remembered her from the last meeting, and she turned out to be a delightful dinner companion, with a wonderful sense of humor. She asked me if I had been to see a particular therapist at the clinic upstairs, and I said no, I hadn't. She then said she had an appointment with her, and that they were going to fit her for a straight jacket! Guffaw! I knew right away that I was going to like this girl! Turns out that we are both Army Vietnam veterans. We actually have quite a few military vets in our group, including our own Blogger girl, Sophie. And to think that while I was in uniform, I had this deep dark secret, that no other soldier could possibly ever understand!
By then, other members began to slowly file in, leaving their edible contributions on the counter, and soon we had a full house. Our lovely President, now two months post-op presided over the meeting, and apparently she is making a remarkable recovery. She showed no signs of stress, even though she was on her feet leading the meeting, for the better part of three hours. But then, she showed no signs of stress last month either, when she was just one month post-op! Truly a remarkable woman!......Could she be Wonder Woman in disguise?
She had us form our normal horseshoe of chairs in the center of the room after supper, and we all got a chance to share our insecurities and/or concerns about different aspects of our self image. Mine of course was my size. I said that I was fairly confident when standing away from people, because my presentation is pretty good, and at a distance people lack perspective, but when in close proximity to others, I feel like a giant! I related the story I posted here, about one of my trips to the dump, where I went unnoticed while over at the recycling dumpsters alone, but when I was returning to my truck after putting my bagged trash into the compactor, two guys in a truck pulled up and the passenger just started staring at me. I thought I looked pretty good that day, so didn't know if he was freaking out because he read me as a male, or was simply ogling the attractive amazon. The collective advice, was not to care what he was thinking, since as a complete stranger, his opinion really didn't matter one way or the other. As I recall, on the way home I kind of laughed about it, but when I got home I took another look in the mirror, just to be sure I didn't look like some kind of a freak, and I didn't! In fact I looked pretty damned good that day! Could it be that this poor ogle eyed redneck fellow in the black pickup truck, may actually have been smitten by me! That is so hard for someone as insecure as me to imagine, but it was postulated tonight, that sometimes that is actually what is on the minds of those we find staring at us. Maybe that's the tact I should take from now on. They are staring at me, because they love me! Yes! I shall now become a diva!
And speaking of egos, what should both Sophie and I receive tonight, but the best kind of validation any of us could ever want! While cleaning up in the kitchenette after the meeting, a spouse of one of our members said, that we both looked like women to her! WHAT? Well.......I don't have to tell you, that I was initially elated at her remark, and thanked her, but the elation was short lived, when she followed up her compliment, by saying, she could never see her spouse as a woman. Now, I know her spouse, and she is one of the sweetest women in our group, but god lover her, she is not blessed with naturally delicate looks, and she has a husky masculine voice. Suddenly I felt vain, and guilty for feeling great about the compliment she gave us. I like to look pretty, and I especially love it when a genetic woman validates my femininity, but not at the expense of one of my girlfriends. I don't hold it against her spouse. I perfectly understand the way she feels. She went on to say, that when J initially came out of the closet, she wanted to go back into it, and that she feared being seen as a lesbian. She said that if J had transitioned early in their marriage, she probably would have left, but now at their age, and several years after J being out, she just doesn't care what people think anymore. I sympathized with her, and said that many marriages end, because the wives can't adjust to being seen as lesbians. I told her that, that was perfectly understandable. Yet still, she has stayed with J, so there must be something there between them, that transcends all of her fears. She has been to every single meeting with J, since I joined the group, one month short of a year ago. As far as I'm concerned, that is golden!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
After mowing yesterday, I had a load of trash that needed to go to the dump, so I loaded it into the back of the pickup, and down the road I went. The western county dump is about six miles away, and because of the lower temperature and humidity, the usual summer haze was absent, so the brilliant greens of the fields and forests, stood out vividly against the azure sky, making the ride a truly pleasant one. Pleasant that is.......until I got to the dump, and noticed that the gates were shut. A sign on the fence said, "Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays"! I never received a notice from the county, so I just assumed that they were curtailing hours to save money in these hard times, so I did a U-turn and drove back home.
When I pulled into the driveway, I wondered what to do with the bags of trash in the back of my truck. I knew that I would have to go grocery shopping today, so I thought I would just leave them in the truck, then stop by the dump at the eastern end of the country, on the way to the grocery store. That turned out to be a mistake. This place literally crawls with little critters at night. Skunk, Opossum, Raccoon, you name it. They are all out there crawling round at night, looking for a bite to eat. Well.......when I went out today to go grocery shopping, sure enough the truck had been visited by a midnight diner. All four bags had been torn open, and their contents were strewn about the truck. A couple of empty bread wrappers lay in the driveway, and I had to re-bag it all.
With the trash in new plastic bags, I headed down the highway. When I got to the turn off for the eastern dump, I made a right and followed the winding country road another four or five miles, then another right turn into the dump. I pulled up to the gate and low and behold, it was closed too! A sign on the fence said, "Closed On Thursdays"! I don't ever recall getting a notice from the county, saying they were cutting back on hours that the two dumps were open. I guess they just expected us to figure out their new schedule on our own, by trial and error. Previously, both dumps were open seven days a week, closing only on major holidays. Not to worry though, I would just go back to the western dump on the way home, after getting my groceries. I must be mellowing in my retirement, because a few years ago while I was still working, I would have been enraged by it all. Infuriated by the western dump being closed, seething over the mess the midnight raider left me, and brilliantly incandescent at finding that the eastern dump was also closed, but for some reason or other, I took it all in stride. I don't know, it must have been the gloriously beautiful break in the hellish weather we've been having. There are just two more days to enjoy it. On Sunday, we descend into hell again. The forecast is calling for 93° on Sunday, 97° on Monday, and 99° on Tuesday!